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The Orbit

The Zamfara killings

A Zamfara community burnt down by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen

A man named his dog “Buhari” and he was quickly arrested, brutalized at the police station, and promptly brought to court, according to the police for constituting public nuisance capable of causing a breakdown in law and order. It was a strange charge, and there was public uproar about the abridgment of the rights of a private citizen, doing the most private of things: naming his personal pet. But the indelicacy of the situation has more to do with the act of naming judged subversive.

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Odinala: The sacred religion of the Igbo

This week, dear readers of the “Orbit,” I will like to share with you, something else beyond the roaring political issue of our day. I will like to examine an abiding question of the religion and identity of one of Africa’s most vital cultures – the Igbo – many of whom are actually suffering from a profound level of identity crisis that numbs them from what Azikiwe called “Spiritual balance”: a cardinal condition for self-reflection and self-healing. I was born into a very Christian family and baptized, no more than eight weeks old into the Catholic Church. In fact, for his services to the church, my maternal grandfather was inducted into the knighthood of the church and received a papal medal from Pope John Paul 1.

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Economy

The economic imperative of the eastern corridor

If any lesson must be learned, and any good come from the current political and economic isolation of the Eastern parts of Nigeria, by the current APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari, it must be that ultimately, the states of the former Eastern region have more common grounds for political and economic action in the common interest of its people. The East of Nigeria does exist as a geographical reality. The contiguity of its various parts make it one of the most exciting areas for economic integration through strategic infrastructural linkages.

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Rochas Okorocha

Rochas Okorocha’s endgame in Imo State

First, let us start by where Rochas Okorocha began: he was swept into government on the wings of the APGA, following a populist revolt at the polls in Imo state that threw out the PDP government of Mr. Ikedi Ohakim in 2011. Ohakim was a man of ideas. He just had trouble with implementation, and so his program sounded too futuristic to a people who wanted immediate relief, and immediate benefit from government programs.

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Aguiyi-Ironsi

Aguiyi-ironsi

Fifty years ago, on a Friday night at the Western Nigerian Governor’s lodge in Ibadan, a group of soldiers led by Major Theophilus Danjuma committed a terrible act of treason. They accosted their Commander-in-chief, Major-General Johnson Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Military Head of state of Nigeria only six months in the making, stripped him of his epaulettes and his swagger stick shaped in the form of the Crocodile, and proceeded to arrest him and his host, the Military Governor of the West, Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi. These soldiers, some of them far too drug-addled, did not stop there.

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Assembly-Mace

Detention of Zamfara House leadership could be treason

It is true that the years under military dictatorships distorted the political development of Nigeria in the crucial postcolonial period. Barely six years after the end of colonialism, soldiers took over the role of political governance of Nigeria. By the way, next week will be exactly fifty-years since the brutal murder of General Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigeria’s first military Head of state.

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Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, at St Peter's Square Rome, during their visit to Pope Francis at theVatican.

Biafrexit?

Sam Omatseye’s piece in the Nation, “The Ghost of Biafra,” this past week adds to the growing discussion on the inevitable impact of the new secessionist movement in important ways. The kernel of that column is that Nigeria as a nation runs in vain from its obligation to effect closure on the Biafran experience. Omatseye, of course skirts certain issues, and fudges a few, including the important question he raises: “how could a people knowing that they did not have the arms still plunge to war against an overwhelming armed opponent?”

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File: National Assembly Complex

The Powers Of The National Assembly

The much vaunted but inefficient fight against corruption has become the basis for which the executive branch under the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on the most extensive power grab in the history of civil rule in Nigeria. Well, Nigerians made the first mistake in 1999, when they did not back their legislators in checkmating President Obasanjo’s attempts to muscle the National Assembly. But let me proceed from where the “Orbit” ended last week by making the following observations. The greatest threat against democracy and the survival of the rule of law in Nigeria is an indolent and a badly informed citizenship. Most Nigerians have never bothered to read the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This includes, many Nigerians who are literate enough to absorb the letters of the constitution, and understand it.

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Ibrahim Magu, Acting Executive Chairman, EFCC

EFCC and freezing accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) strikes yet again: this time, the target is Mr. Ayo Fayose, the irrepressible governor of Ekiti State. Reports say the commission has “frozen” his accounts. The EFCC is very fond of “freezing” the bank accounts and records of those whom it is just investigating before bringing them to court. Should the EFFC be allowed to do that by law? The recent move also throws up an important question: does the EFCC have the power to freeze the bank accounts of the governor of a state? In short, should the commission be allowed the power to compel banks to put a hold or garnish the accounts of its customers as a result of investigations, by just going secretly before a judge, and obtaining a warrant ex parte, which jeopardizes the rights of the accused and the integrity of the investigations?

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Igbokwe-Biafra

The “Efulefu Igbo” and the Manchurian complex

Richard Condon’s novel, The Manchurian Candidate (1959), now a classic of the cold-war, is a political thriller about a young American soldier, from a very prominent political family, who is recruited, brainwashed, and unleashed unto the American political landscape by the Communists to effect subterranean changes that would have ground-shifting impact on American politics and society.

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Jonathan

Jonathan Responds

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria is by no means a great communicator. As a matter of fact he is very drab and uninspiring. This self-effacing, terribly inarticulate man is burdened by the need to clearly put his own achievement in context. One of Jonathan’s greatest problems is that his media team has been unable to put across the achievements of his government, and place his work in its proper context.

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Buhari-UAE5

An adversarial President, a discontented people

Truth be told, President Muhammadu Buhari does not have the easiest job in the world. But then again, no one who runs for the president of Nigeria ever imagines it to be easy. Even on its best days, Nigeria is a very complex and volatile mix ethnic and religious differences compounded by a heritage of political ideas and leadership that has more generally emphasized and intensified these differences rather than create a harmonious idea of shared nationhood. As I have always insisted, a nation like Nigeria, with its many “ancient kingdoms” and “caliphates” contending with the idea of a single organic nation, is a candidate for profound ruptures.

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President Buhari

Buhari’s Policy Summersaults

In 2012, the Federal government of Nigeria under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan announced plans to end the regime of fuel subsidies in Nigeria. It led to public protests and an organized action led by the political opposition to challenge Jonathan’s oil policy with regards to subsidies.

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